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How I spent one Saturday night

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Zachary Cacicia
  • 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
When I joined the U.S. Air Force, I knew it would come with a few advantages that as a civilian, I would not normally receive. This would include getting a markdown while buying a mountain bike at a sporting goods store or receiving a 15 percent discount on my cellphone bill every month, gaining free access to a NASCAR race, or even priority seating while boarding an airliner.

Though I have never gone out of my way to ask for these things, I often found them offered to me. Recently though, I was asked if I would like to volunteer to escort beautiful women at a beauty pageant.

The words, "Oh my God, yes," immediately came into my head and then soon after out of my mouth.

So I and three other Airmen volunteered to work as escorts at the 2014 Miss Delaware competition on the night of Saturday, June 14th, held at the Rollins Center, located inside Dover Downs Hotel and Casino in Dover, Delaware. The only requirement was that our Service Dress uniforms were presentable.

The Miss Delaware competition selects which young lady will represent the State of Delaware at the Miss America pageant later in the year. The Miss Delaware Scholarship Organization provides thousands of dollars each year in the form of scholarships to the contestants.

The four Airmen that volunteered for this task were: Airman 1st Class Jacob Smith, 436th Medical Operations Squadron aerospace medical technician, Staff Sgt. Monty West, 9th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, and 1st Lt. Christopher Trejo, 436th Force Support Squadron civilian personnel specialist, and myself.

We had all volunteered, but we did not know exactly what we would be doing at the competition. All four of us had never attended such an event. You could say that we volunteered for the unknown.

We arrived at the venue a few hours before the scheduled event for a practice. Up until this point, we really had no idea what we were supposed to do.

The other Airmen and I found ourselves surrounded by beautiful contestants, who were all seeking to become the next Miss Delaware. All of whom were understandably nervous.

While the contestants had a lot on their plate, we (the Airmen) only had to complete one simple task. During the evening gown portion of the competition, our job was to escort the remaining contests out onto the stage. But this was not until nearly the end of the entire event. So for the majority of the evening, we watched the competition from one of the tables, just as if we were regular spectators.

We waited and waited. We were not exactly sure on when it was our turn to go up on stage. We were told that at a certain point in the show, someone would come get us to take us backstage.

As we continued to wait and wonder, the master of ceremonies announced it was now time for the contestants to be escorted out onto stage by Airmen from Dover Air Force Base. As in, right now.

We, the Airmen all looked at one another with a sense of panic in our eyes. Oh no, nobody came to collect us as they were supposed to. We jumped up and ran to the backstage door, which was probably a good 200 feet away. Everyone was waiting on us and everyone was looking at us. Talk about some jitters.

Once we got into place, the show could finally continue. There were four Airmen and 11 remaining contestants. So one at a time, we took turns escorting one contestant at a time.

I was slightly anxious before I went out onto the stage. There were hundreds of people there, with all of their eyes on me. Well, the girl, whose arm I was holding. But I digress. These girls were gorgeous in their evening gowns. Nobody was looking at me. But it was still a little scary.

However, this anxiety completely dissipated as soon as I stepped out on stage though. Realizing that the lights were so bright and intense, I could not see the crowd directly in front of me. It was like walking out into a white haze; a hot white haze.

An Airman and a contestant would enter from the opposite sides of the stage and meet in the middle and lock arms. Then the Airman would escort the contestant four steps and break arms. The contest would continue on and the Airman would return backstage.

After repeating this two more times, my part was done. It was simple; no sweat.

So yeah, I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would ever do anything like that. I really enjoyed the opportunity given to me, and I thank those responsible for making it possible. All I can say now is that I hope to be able to do it again next year. I am certain that the three other Airmen that I did this with would say the same.